Mickey D. Brackin
Senior Pastor, Mars Hill Baptist Church, Lawrenceburg
Living in the state of Tennessee, we are quite familiar with the sound of the audible emergency weather warning system. The purpose of this system is to provide advanced warning of dangerous approaching storms. As we continue in our study of I Timothy, we find the Apostle Paul sounding the warning alarm. His alarm is not a weather alert but rather a false teacher, false doctrine alert.
Paul’s warnings to Timothy and the church leaders of Ephesus begin in chapter one (I Timothy 1:3) and continue throughout the entirety of the book concluding with the final two verses of chapter six (I Timothy 6:20-21).
One specific area that Paul sounded the warning alarm on was the underlying motives of the false teachers. False teachers were putting their own conceited selfish interest of greed for their own financial gain above the interest of the church (vv. 3-5). In contrast to the doctrines and conduct of the false teachers Paul states that true godliness is not about financial gain but rather the riches that can be found in godly contentment (v. 6). The believer’s ultimate contentment does not come from money or things but from the sufficiency of the Lord Jesus Christ (II Corinthians 3:5, 9:8, and Philippians 4:11-13).
Perhaps we would all do well to examine our own hearts concerning our contentment and desires. It would also be wise to closely look at the message of those that proclaim and teach a doctrine of prosperity, health, and wealth. Jesus spoke directly about such things (Matthew 6:19-21).
Paul in I Timothy 6:9-10, tells us that the love of money and the pursuit of riches can be a trap that leads to destruction. Money or wealth within itself is not an intrinsic evil but when the love of money begins to rule our hearts it will lead down a path of destruction. Paul, in verse 9, used a word “plunge,” “drown,” that literally means “drag to the bottom.”
In verse 11, Paul gives a direct and dramatic break from the preceding verses with the words “but you.” Timothy is instructed clearly as a follower of Jesus Christ and as a leader of the church to not take part in such things. In fact, “flee these things and pursue godliness, faith, love, patience, and gentleness.”
In the closing verses of chapter six, Paul challenges the young church leader to remain faithful to the gospel and the Lord Jesus Christ. Just as Timothy’s doctrine and words must be planted in truth so must his life and example (vv12-14). Timothy’s strong witness and good confession is found in the very fact of who Jesus is (vv15-16). Before closing, Paul again turns his attention to the proper stewardship of riches and wealth (vv17-19).
Paul challenges Timothy to preach, teach, and live the Truth.